23 May 2023

Imran Khan gains protection from arrest over multiple terrorism charges

23 May 2023

Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan has been granted protection from arrest by an Islamabad court until early next month over several cases where he faces terrorism charges for inciting violence.

The development comes as the authorities crack down on the supporters of Khan, now Pakistan’s top opposition leader.

Thousands of people have staged violent protests, attacking public property and military installations, following Khan’s arrest earlier this month.

The violence subsided only days later, after Khan was released on the orders of the country’s supreme court. Ten people were killed in clashes with the police.

Khan, who was ousted in a no-confidence vote in parliament in April last year, has campaigned against the government of his successor, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, claiming his removal was illegal and demanding early elections.

Since then, the 70-year-old former cricket star-turned Islamist politician has become embroiled in more than 100 legal cases against him.

He faces allegations of corruption purportedly committed while he was in office, as well as terrorism charges following the protests by his supporters and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf opposition party.

After the Islamabad court granted Khan protection from arrest on terrorism charges until June 8, the former leader and his wife travelled to the nearby city of Rawalpindi, to appear before the National Accountability Bureau to answer questions in a separate corruption case.

The couple are accused of accepting the gift of property to build a private university in exchange for providing benefits to a real estate tycoon.

Khan denies the charge, saying he and his wife, Bushra Bibi, were not involved in any wrongdoing.

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